Using masts
Hanging columns of plant-growing modules onto an existing wall is certainly the least expensive way to create tall hydroponic towers.  The example house shown further above is tall enough to hang 32-foot tall towers (172 modules in 14 towers). Low wall height or wall-shading problems can be solved by building one or more masts to hang towers on.  Each of the mast's 4 sides is a "wall" for hanging one tower.  

It is easy and inexpensive to create a tall mast of any height by laminating a 3 x 3 matrix of standard 2" x 2" lumber as shown above.  Using a table saw and construction adhesive, scrap wood can be glued together with staggered splice joints and the resulting mast can be anchored in concrete like a fence post. For larger scale operations, Figure 10 here and page 11 here explain how the mast can be rotated to optimize lighting of the plants growing on each of their towers.

Horticultural strategy
The illustrated plant-growing modules are inexpensive "flower-pouch" bags that are well-suited to growing plants in an organic soil media.  The image also portrays an efficient horticultural strategy.  Notice that each plant-growing module is packed with (typically organic) soil and that a "back-channel" of highly permeable media (such as Perlite) is packed along the back side of it to act as a drain.  

This module-drainage feature enables a high flow-rate to cascade through the many modules in a tall tower.  Simply running a garden hose to the top of the very tall tower will enable irrigation of its large volume of organic growing media.  If the flow of cascading water is limited to a trickle then a very cost effective constant-loss system can be implemented.  Pumping hydroponic fluid back up the tower and cascading it through an inorganic growing media has some advantages however it would be considerably more costly.  The goal and advantage of this invention  is to achieve the lowest cost per unit volume of irrigated root mass.

An added benefit of using soil-based growing media is that produce grown in this soil-based tower can certified organic; that's something hydroponic growers cannot legally do.  Hanging towers on the side of an existing house is cost-effective however many houses don't have a wall that is well-suited (due to shading or architectural concerns).  Anchoring a free-standing tower-mast in concrete (like a flagpole) is one alternative but it too is subject to physical site limitations as well aesthetic reasons for homeowner reluctance.  The freestanding "Cube Farms" illustrated above provide the greatest flexibility... they can be assembled on any flat surface so they are particularly well-suited to rooftop farming on large urban buildings.

Another very useful innovation is the "Drain-to-waste" methodology described in detail on page 8 in the application.  The compost-tea brewing vat described on page 9 has perfect synergy with the tall towers.



Here's the big problem that our tiny forklift solves

Waterfall Farm lifts vertical farming to new heights

Iceland vacation waterfall
Hengifoss 2
Iceland Waterfalls Svartifoss

Waterfall Farm

It lifts vertical farming to new heights

It's the biggest agricultural innovation since the plow


To fully understand how this invention works

Waterfall Farm is an uplifting tool

No matter how you look at it

Even these low-height systems force users to climb and stretch

And as systems get taller, the difficulty of providing access to their crop increases

Motorized systems solve the ergonomic problem but they are complex and expensive




Waterfall Farm is currently patent pending in CanadaA PCT patent application will be pending soon for other IP jurisdictions


We are seeking commercialization partners worldwide

Each plant-growing module

cascades into the

next one...

It's made in Iceland... how cool is that?

Go with the flow...

Nutrient fluid is cascaded into the top of this 30-foot tall plant-growing tower (up to 6 towers can be hung onto the mast). Each tower is comprised of 15 plant-growing modules that are removably hung in vertical formation so that nutrient fluid cascades through all of them. Fluid draining through each tower's lowest plant-growing module can be either discarded or recycled back to the top. Preferably, a pressurized bioreactor is used to compost and brew the nutrient fluid (see further below).

Waterfall Farm's plant-growing towers

The tower's grow-module hoist

This "elevator-pole" is a drill-driven forklift that enables you to easily hoist and hang the plant-growing modules onto any of the mast’s growing towers. A Wi-Fi camera mounted on the pole’s moving hoist-arm enables you to accurately maneuver the modules while standing at ground level. The pole-stabilizing arm at the top of the mast enables hands-free tending of the plants in each lowered module.

This invention solves a fundamental vertical farming conundrum:
By eliminating the need for ladders or scaffolding to access upper plant growth, now even back-yard gardeners can plant and harvest on very tall towers.  Our motorized forklift enables plant-growing modules to easily move up and down tall towers so the productivity of small gardening spaces can skyrocket .  

It really does "Lift vertical farming to new heights", and it's not just about increased productivity.  The ergonomics of tending a crop is ideal because each plant is delivered to the user at ground level and held at the ideal height for hands-free access to the crop.  No more repetitive bending down and stretching up!

It's also the most cost-effective system imaginable:
The basic farm is a compact kit of hardware parts that is easily shipped to end users.  The user supplies their own electric drill (used to drive the elevator-pole), action camera + smartphone (used  for pole navigation) and construction materials (to laminate the very long elevator pole and tower-support masts (if needed).  The side of existing buildings can also be easily converted into an urban farm

Minimum Viable Product

Waterfall Farm is an ingenious solution!


Next-generation Urban Farmer


Aldeyjarfoss Waterfall

Goðafoss Waterfall

Iceland vacation Godafoss

Dettifoss Waterfall

Selfoss Waterfall

Selfoss compressor

Skógafoss Waterfall

Iceland vacation SkoÌ gafoss

Seljalandsfoss Waterfall

Iceland vacation Seljalandsfoss

Gljúfrabúi Waterfall

GljuÌ frabuÌ i compressor

Svartifoss Waterfall

Kirkjufellsfoss Waterfall

Iceland vacation Kirkjufell mountain

Dynjandi Waterfall

Dynjandi Iceland Waterfall

Hengifoss Waterfall

Gullfoss Waterfall

Iceland vacation Gulfs

Háifoss Waterfall

HaÌ ifoss compressor

Bruarfoss Waterfall

Bruarfoss waterfall
Dettifoss 2
Servicing living wall2
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636411813315175038 AP7032686378330934
Tall vert 3
0ccb14 9a2bc2f68eb84431b4d9b199049d4f4e mv2
20181031 vertical farm bloomberg
regen village
vertical farming 2
FIG 22

And taller houses are suitable for "wall-farming"

This basic 172-module "Wall-farm Kit" will cost about $500

FIG 22b

unexploited vertical farmland

The world has vast tracts of

Even a modest bungalow can support a productive family farm

See "Using masts" below

It can easily scale-up for commercial farming

And Waterfall Farm isn't just for small-scale homesteading

The examples below show a 6 x 6 grid of masts; each mast has 14 plant-growing modules hung up each of its 4 sides.  Since each removable plant-growing module typically contains 5 or more plants, over 10,000 of them can be cultivated on this small footprint (less than 1500 square feet).

The system's (optionally rotating) masts can be deployed either outdoors or in artificially-lit buildings (see drawings #13 and #14 here). For further clarity, read page 11 here.

To make the best use of available land and water, urban farms must grow vertically; and since a vertical farm's productivity is directly proportional to its height, its mechanical support system should be as tall as possible.  The ideal system also needs to make maximum use of existing urban structures; ease of use and lowest possible cost were also important design criteria.  Waterfall Farm's cascading tower and forklift configuration delivers on all counts... for clarity, read page 2 here.


The easiest way to start a family-sized Waterfall Farm is to build one on an outside wall of your house. The cost will be very low because all of the bulky and expensive to ship components can be purchased at a local lumber yard, hardware store or garden center.  Your basic "Farm In A Box" kit will contain all of the specialized hardware needed to put together a 15-tower, 32-foot tall, 150-module wall-farm similar to the one shown above.

Most two-story houses are only tall enough to accommodate a 24-foot tall farm.  That's OK, lower (and less productive) farms of any height easy to make, they simply have a shorter elevator-pole.  If a taller apartment block wall or commercial building is available for farming then towers as high as 40 feet can be maintained by a skilled elevator-pole operator.  

By building your farm on a wall of your house, the cost of your land is zero and the distance to your kitchen is almost zero. There's  also no need to ask for a building permit or to get a mortgage.  

What's in the box for a basic wall-farm?
1 Drill-driven winch with torque arm and lock
1 Elevator sleeve wither hook-tipped arm
1 Top of pole fixture (pulley and stabilizer hooks)
1 Winch cable and kit-fasteners package
1 Hook-bending jig (see further below)
1 Clamping jig for brad-nailing the metal sheathing onto the spliced elevator-pole
15 stabilizer arm wall fixtures (for holding the elevator-pole in front of 15 towers)
15 stabilizer ground cups (for holding the elevator-pole in front of 15 towers)
1 kit of garden-hose connection fixtures for plumbing 15 towers)

What needs to be procured locally?
Lumber for the core of the elevator-pole (~$20)
- A table saw is needed to dress the raw lumber down to 1.35" x 1.35"
- Since the wood is spliced inside a metal sheath, recycled construction lumber can be used to rip them.
Metal drywall corners to sheath the pole (~$35)
- A pack of brad nails is also needed as well as a half-day rental of the nailing machine ($35)
A WiFi camera, a smartphone and a cordless drill  (many people already have all three of these components)
About 75 feet of garden hose is used to distribute water up the wall and into the towers
Enough 31/2” nails to bend into 150 hooks  (~$20)
150 purchased plant-growing modules (~$20 to ~$75)
- If purchased in bulk, flower pouches cost ~$0.10 so these could be included in the box
150 recycled plant-growing modules  (~$free)
- See photos below of repurposed water jugs

Cost of adding masts to the basic wall-farm kit.
A single-story dwelling (like this) will require masts to support the tall towers.  The preferred method for making masts is to rip extra lengths of the same lumber used to fabricate elevator-pole lumber (1.5" x 1.5") and then laminate them into a 3 x 3 matrix (4.5" x 4.5").  The use of construction adhesive (such as this) makes it easy to piece together very strong masts of any length.  If recycled lumber is used to rip the laminates then costs will be $25~$50/mast.

How to farm with it
To understand how the plant-growing modules are used in this most basic wall-farm configuration, read "Plant-cultivation strategies" on page 7 here.  The simplest farm is essentially a constant-loss drip system that relies on the fertility of the soil contained in each module.  Upgrading to a more sophisticated hydroponic system involves simple modifications to the plumbing system to allow for re-circulation of the nutrient fluid and a different cultivation strategy based on sterile and more porous growing media.  Instruction videos covering all aspects of how to use this new farming tool will be posted here for product launch.


All the hardware fits in a 24" x 24" x 16" box

Our "Farm In A Box" Kit

Minimum Viable Product

Waterfall Farm

Waterfall Farm

Inspired by nature

Farm in box3
Nail bending jig

Making inexpensive hooks for hanging modules on their tower
Purchasing 150 ready-made hooks would be expensive ( ~$175).  To deal with that problem, the kit includes a nail bending jig (the black block modeled in this CAD).  When used with a hammer and vice-grip pliers, the jig enables common framing nails to be quickly and precisely bent.  

To use the jig, the nail is hammered part-way into the wall at the angle set by the jig.  The jig is then clamped onto the nail as shown and hammered upward onto the jig.  The resulting hook costs only about $0.11, instead of about $1.90.  That's a 1700% cost savings and it represents the design philosophy behind this project.  

Waterfall Farm's inventor is a retired farmer and that experience of being frugal wherever possible and trusting Mother Nature to get the job done right is what led to this new kind of farm implement.



shortness problem1B
shortness problem2
shortness problem4

The elevator-pole's stabilizing-arm is anchored to the tower's support wall or mast; it is located slightly to the left of each column of grow-module hooks.  The stabilizing-arm is this invention's key enabling feature; without stabilization, the very tall pole would exert enormous leverage on the user, thereby making it impossible to easily maneuver the pole and its attached modules.  To achieve good ergonomics, the stabilizer arm is used in 3 modes of operation:

Mode 1:  The image shows the pole's masthead fixture hooked onto the stabilizer arm while the tip of the elevator's hook-tipped arm is touching the wall and ready to pluck a plant-growing module off its tower-hook.  The hooked-on pole is safely immobilized at the top and also anchored at the bottom (inside the ground-cup shown in the overview image).

Mode 2: Once the drill-powered winch has lifted a plant-growing module off its hook, the user can pull back on the pole while lifting the pole approximately 1 inch to release the side-engaged hook from the arm.  The user can then turn the pole 90 degrees to the right to swing the captured module out of its tower formation (see drawing #18 here).  

Mode 3:  Once the plant-growing module has been swung away from the tower, the user drops the pole down so its rear hook engages onto the stabilizer arm.  The drill-powered winch can then be used to slide the module down the stabilized pole without fear of it toppling over.  When the plants arrive at ground level they can be tended hands-free.




You splice 8-foot lengths of 2x2 lumber together by laminating four metal drywall corners so they overlap all of the butt-joints.


The kit includes a clamping jig that squeezes the four drywall corners together so they can be pinned with a brad nailer.

  1. The nails pierce both overlapping drywall corner flanges and pin them securely together; note the 4 smooth bearing corners.

  1. Open-air freestanding farm

  1. Side-supported, open-air version

  1. Air-supported greenhouse

  1. Air-supported greenhouse

  1. With supplementary lighting

  1. Guy-wired greenhouse version

  1. Click on images for a better view

  1. The pole's metal sheathing gives the spliced pole exceptional stiffness and the elevator-arm slides easily on its 4 corners.

These CAD images help explain the mechanism

A video overview

IMG 2545
IMG 2544
IMG 2542
IMG 2543

This screenshot shows a miniature (8-foot-tall) Waterfall Farm for use in a trade show booth.  Its 4 plant-growing towers provide 12 plant-growing modules hung on a propped-up mast.  Its corresponding "elevator-pole" is also just 8 feet tall and purely for demonstration purposes.  

A 32-foot tall production tower (seen in the inset) can have 14 or more modules hanging on each of the 4 sides of its (optionally rotatable) mast.  To understand how hydroponic fluid cascades through a tower and is then recycled back up through a ground-level reservoir. See drawings #2 and #3 here.

Below are drawings and photos that clarify each of the four major components that make up a Waterfall Farm's growing mechanism:
1) Its drill-driven winch
2) Its plant-growing modules
3) Its tall growing towers and elevator-pole stabilizer
4) Its tall elevator-pole core and hoisting carriage



The plants growing on a tower are cared for and harvested at ground level by using the elevator-pole to hoist or lower their plant-growing modules as needed.

To minimize its weight and cost, the elevator-pole is powered by a cordless drill.  The drill turns a pole-mounted winch that spools a cable.  The spooled cable runs up to a masthead pulley, then down to an elevator-sleeve that is hauled up and down the pole.  

To enable hands-free tending of the lowered plant-growing modules, an anti-torque arm prevents the drill from being counter-rotated by tension in the cable. Hands-free operation also requires that the top of the pole be stabilized (see point #3 below).


This image shows the hoist-cable coming up from the winch below and then down from the pulley above.  It then attaches to the elevator-sleeve for hoisting the forklift arm.

The elevator-sleeve slides easily on the metal-clad pole (see #4 below) and the sleeve's hook-tipped arm reaches out to lift plant-growing modules on or off the tower.  In this case, the tower is simply two nails hammered into the wall and bent to form hooks for hanging a column of modules  

The WiFi camera located on the hook-tipped forklift arm transmits a real-time view of the two hooks as they approach each other. Drawing #5 here illustrates how a smartphone displays a real-time navigation image as the pole and drill are manipulated by the operator.  

By using the WiFi camera and the pole-stabilizer (see #3 below) it's easy to transfer a module so that it hangs on the elevator-pole or else on one of the tower's wall-hooks.

The column of hanging grow-modules that form a tower can be made of commonly available plastic "flower pouches" as shown.  Alternatively, recyclable 4 or 8-liter plastic water containers can be cut and re-purposed to serve as zero-cost plant-growing modules.


1) The drill-driven winch

2) The plant-growing modules

3) The elevator-pole stabilizer

4) The metal-sheathed core of the elevator-pole
(below are photos showing a rudimentary way to fabricate it on-site)

If you can ride a bike, you'll have no trouble mastering this miniature forklift


The production elevator-pole has a new snap-together socketed design.  The hooked-tip of its elevator arm is also rotatable so that it can more easily access modules hung on the sides of a mast.

If you can assemble flat-pack furniture, you'll have no trouble building your farm

Easy to use and EASY TO BUILD

Browse the patent drawings

Read the patent application

Pole sections2
840 demo 1
840 demo 3
840 demo 4
840 demo 2

The new pole-stabilizer also includes 3 magnets that complement the stabilizing action of the arm and hooks.  The leverage disadvantage that the user experiences at the bottom of the pole is reversed, so even light magnetic attraction can provide good pole stabilization.

Its 32-foot tall mast is made of  2" x 4" lumber that's glued and screwed into a T-section.  The pole-stabilization arm is also very simple to assemble on-site using the hardware kit.

The latest design is cheaper to make and easier to use

840 demo 8
840 demo 9

The pole stabilization arm has both a mechanical and magnetic coupling-rail on both its sides so a captured plant-growing module can be swung either left or right to prepare it for lowering into your waiting arms below.

See the latest version